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Native food crops for present and future generations


Chapter 1: Native food crops for present and future generations: their role in nutrition and health

The Andean and Amazonian regions harbor a remarkably rich biodiversity. Many food crops such as corn, potato, cassava, tomato, peanut, and cacao have crossed borders and are consumed worldwide. However, there are still plenty of other native food crops that have not been fully exploited, which have a great potential for the development of innovative food products and derivatives and may contribute to food security, reduction of biodiversity loss, and resilience to climate change. Some grains, cereals, legumes, tubers, roots, and fruits are rich not only in macronutrients and micronutrients but also in bioactive compounds, which seem to be able to modulate metabolic processes with a positive effect on human health, although the mechanism of action of bioactive compounds is not completely understood. Food crops with an interesting content of nutrients and bioactive compounds that have been selected for presentation in this chapter are Amaranthus caudatus, Chenopodium pallidicaule, Chenopodium quinoa, Lupinus mutabilis, Zea mays, Lepidium peruvianum, Smallanthus sonchifolius, Tropaeolum tuberosum, Annona muricata, Euterpe oleracea, Myrciaria dubia, Physalis peruviana, Plukenetia volubilis, and Solanum betaceum.

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